Posts Tagged 'fossil fuels'

Paying For Our Airline Baggage

“More Ways To Make Us Pay” was the Oregonian’s headline yesterday for an article on airlines now charging for baggage due to the rising cost of fuel.

In my counseling days, we called that attitude ‘playing victim’. I would have used a different headline for the paying-for-baggage story, something like “Now We Get Paid To Be Disciplined”.

Background to which my husband Thor will attest: I struggle [Read more →]


Why Bother? Three Great Reasons

Of all the good pieces in today’s Green Issue of New York Times magazine, “Why Bother?” by Michael Pollan is the one that helps us see that lower-consumption lifestyles are crucial in dealing with global warming, Inventors and legislators cannot rescue us.

1.) Pollan points out that being a role model is powerful. As various citizens like you and me consume significantly less, especially in terms of fossil fuels, other people will follow our example. Social change tends to happen exponentially (much faster than linear growth). I would add that people will especially follow the example of us diamond-cut lifers as they see we are happy in our simplicity, with a high quality of life (different from a high standard of living, which is measured just by volume of consumption).

2.) Acting ‘as if’ can make amazing things happen. Pollan cites how Vaclav Havel and Adam Michnik were instrumental in bringing freedom to the Soviet blok by acting as if they lived in a free society. We need to act as if we are living in a sustainable society, one that intends to still be existing seven generations down the road.

3.) A reason of mine that Pollan did not address: we sustainability artists who live well by consuming less are working out the kinks in all the new systems and ways. I really mean the old systems and ways: growing a good percentage of our own food; skillfully using public transit, biking, carpooling and walking for transportation; sharing valuable items within a community instead of one-item-per-person. We are blazing the trail so that when various collapses start happening, these survival skills will be in the social knowledge-base.

Me? I’ve been working in our food garden and enjoying a car-free weekend, using my legs and a TriMet bus to get me everywhere I’m going — church, the film “End of Suburbia” at the Bagdad on Hawthorne, and a dinner party reunion of our cross-country skiing group. Fun!

Hillary and the Concept of Legal And Rare

I’m glad that Hillary Clinton is back in the presidential race. While I wish she would mount a a truly appropriate response to global warming, I respect the way she has reached across party lines in the past as a senator to help make abortion both legal and rare. (Repeated research has shown that is what most Americans would like abortion to be.)

Let’s run today with that concept of ‘both legal and rare’. It’s valuable and I like it. It encapsulates that there are lots of things in life that we want to have the freedom to do, but that are usually better left undone because they have a negative impact on society.

Here is a short list of things I’d like to see become legal yet truly rare within the next decade so that consumption starts aligning with the earth’s actual production of resources:

  • using disposable coffee cups instead of mugs
  • using fossil fuels for nonessential travel
  • eating meat from feedlot-raised animals
  • raising corn to feed engines instead of humans
  • using blowers instead of human energy to clear away leaves

What would you like to see become rare though legal? Coming up tomorrow: an on-the-ground post from rural Oregon as I travel out the Columbia Gorge.

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